Popular Vardon Avenue haunt Exchange Specialty Coffee is gearing up for an expansion and refit at the end of the month.
The petite cafe will take over the tenancy next door (formerly Parente Couture Jewellery & Co). “We’ve become way busier than I expected, and we’re still getting busier,” says owner Tom Roden. “I never imagined we’d be doing what we’re doing in this tiny space. It wasn’t designed for this level of business, so it’s a real blessing we get to expand.”
The growing customer base is thanks in part to the area’s booming reputation as one of Adelaide’s most exciting dining precincts. Since Nano, Sad Café and Hey Jupiter kick-started the rejuvenation of Ebenezer Place, the strip has flourished with a wave of new eateries and foot traffic. In the three years since Exchange opened on the adjoining Vardon Avenue, the area has welcomed East End Providore, Burger Theory, Mother Vine, NOLA, The Tasting Room and Kutchi Deli Parwana.
“It’s come a huge way,” Roden says. “[Each place that opens] strengthens the precinct because there’s more reason for people to come here. It just adds to the diversity.”
The changes at Exchange include the relocation of the kitchen into the newly acquired space and the extension of the dining area. The back wall currently concealing the kitchen will be knocked down to incorporate extra window seating.
The kitchen will be three times the size of the current set-up, allowing for some new menu items. But Roden says he plans to keep the offering “concise”. “I don’t want a menu that’s bloated and full of stuff just because we can produce more things. I still want to keep it pretty focused and innovative and creative.”
While the interior will change to take advantage of the added space, Roden promises the familiar Exchange vibe will remain. “I don’t want it to become this unfamiliar space for people who come here on a frequent basis, and we have lots of those people. I don’t want it to feel alien.”
The fit-out will be completed by interior design and architecture firm Williams Burton Leopardi, which is also working on Roden’s new project, Iberia, a Spanish and Portuguese restaurant slated to open in December.
Exchange will shut up shop for three weeks from October 30 while the renovations take place. Following the re-opening, Roden is planning a launch event featuring Melbourne roasters Market Lane.